Ellen Trotzig studied in Copenhagen, at the Valand Art School in Gothenburg for Carl Wilhelmsson and in Paris. Trotzig is mainly known for her monumental landscapes of heavy clouds carpets where the sun breaks through unexpectedly. Nature became for the introverted artist a source of inspiration, it gave vital energy and courage to fight on. It was always natural experiences that got her in balance. Trotzig was an important representative of the national romantic twilight art that emerged in Scania, and she often depicted the shimmering light and inviting hills of Österlén in south Sweden. She also did a number of portraits, mainly of women. Her paintings are often conducted in a dark palette with mysterious and dramatic moves. Some paintings testify to a emerging Expressionism. Trotzig were also inspired by the art of Paul Gauguin and throughout her figure painting is symbolic and expressive.
She bequeathed her estate to Malmö Art Museum in order to thereby create a scholarship fund that annually awards three grants to promising Scanian artists.